I often have friends ask me about renovating and whether or not they should embark on the journey. I come from a family of renovators – my parents have bought several houses over the years and renovated them, so too have my older sisters and their husbands. I’m not talking about a simple bathroom renovation. I’m talking full on house renovations!
It is often a topic discussed around our family dinner table, and more often than not, we lament about how much more expensive our renovation costs than previously thought!
So, I thought I would give you an indication of how much our renovation has cost us before we even started building. Keep in mind, this does not include ANY demolition or construction work. These costs are simply the amounts we paid to get to the point where we could START building. I’ll also break down what each of the costs were for.
How Much Does a Renovation Cost?
ARCHITECT FEES: $7,745
The architect looks at your existing house plans and discusses what you would like to change. He/She then draws up a new set of plans and submits them to council to be approved. Typically, an architect is the most expensive part of the pre-renovation stage. We were very lucky and had a dear friend’s Dad give us an amazing discount for his architectural services. Truth be told, usually this amount would be double and come in at somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000.
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: $3,960
Once the architect has finished drawing up the plans, the next step is to hire a structural engineer who assesses whether or not the plans are actually achievable from a structural point of view. He/She inspects the existing house, determines what materials need to be used, where support beams need to be placed and how the floor structure needs to be built. They will also walk through the neighbours’ houses to take photos and provide a “Dilapidation Report”. This report ensures we do not damage our neighbour’s property during the renovation.
A surveyor comes and determines the exact boundaries of our property and provides drawings outlining the boundaries. This is to ensure we don’t build on the neighbour’s land!
COUNCIL DEVELOPMENT FEES: $2,585
These are a collection of various fees that need to paid the local council before work can commence on your property. These fees include a security deposit in case we damage any council property and inspection fees.
Once your plans have been approved by council, you then need to apply for a Construction Certificate (CC). The CC allows you to begin work on your house. When council approves your plans, they provide you with a list of specifications you must adhere to before being issued your CC. A Certifier is someone who checks you have adhered to all these specifications and that all the correct documents and council fees have been paid. They can then issue you with a CC. The Certifier will also come and check on your project several times throughout the renovation process to ensure everything is built correctly. At the end of the project, they will issue with an Occupational Certificate if they are happy with the construction and all specifications have been followed. You cannot move into your house UNTIL you have been issued with an Occupational Certificate. Each time the Certifer comes to your house, you will need to pay them another fee. We are based in Sydney and used Paul Pearce Certifiers. If you are based in Melbourne, check out www.buildingpermits.
SYDNEY WATER APPROVAL: $18
Before work can begin, you need to pop into a Reece Plumbing store and ask them to give you a copy of your Sydney Water plans. They will then officially stamp the plans so you can send them to your Certifier. This ensures that the builder knows exactly where pipes are so he doesn’t burst any in the process! It also provides him with drainage information should you be putting in a new bathroom, kitchen or gutters.
Total Cost So Far
So before we even took a hammer to our house, we had to outlay $16,233. WOAH! And that was with a massive discount from our architect! This is why renos typically go over budget, as people don’t realize how many extra costs are involved.
If you are thinking of renovating your house, I hope this gives you a rough idea of costs involved in the preparation.
Now, back to my budget spreadsheet!
– Penny xo